February E-Newsletter

New local attraction discounts added to product bundle benefits

Silver Lining, Veterans and Golden Rewards members get even more bang for their buck!

For the last 10 months, our product bundles have topped the list in regard to banking products, with discounts for local attractions being one of the most popular benefits for those who are a part of the Silver Lining, Veterans or Golden Rewards programs.

For this month, SIS is excited to announce three more locations to which you can benefit from your banking. Added to the list are Smitty’s Cinema, Maine Indoor Karting and Bowl-A-Rama of Sanford! Here’s a little inside look at how much you can save.

For Smitty’s Cinema you pay just $5.00 per ticket, saving you up to $18.00! Now that will certainly make any movie you go see automatically more enjoyable right?

SIS has also partnered with Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough, so if you’re feeling the need for speed, suit up and push that pedal to the floor with Arrive and Drive passes at $3.00 off the original price. You can also receive $5.00 memberships if you’re ready to get those tires spinning.

You can also send pins flying at Bowl-A-Rama in Sanford, if you pay for two strings of bowling, we’ll give you the third free! Or, take advantage of the $30.00 family deal where you can enjoy an hour and a half of bowling, with shoes included.

For more information on how you can take advantage of these discounts, visit the local attractions page under our product bundles listings. Make sure you have your access code ready! Are you a bundle customer and not sure what the code is? No problem, just give us a call or email us at marketing@banksis.com. We’ll verify that you’re a bundle customer and we’ll make sure you get to saving on these fun activities as soon as possible!

Not a bundle customer? Find out which bundle fits your financial lifestyle today by visiting our product bundles page (link) today! There’s something for everyone. Our discounts are constantly changing, and with seasonal locations opening up in a few months, you’ll want to check back to see what else has been added to the list.

Who knew banking could be so fun?

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Cache's Corner: Paws for True Love – Apps for the month of loooove

My humans tell me this month is all about love, and not just puppy love (of which I am very familiar!). Something about a Saint Valentine and a little human bringing other humans together by striking love into their hearts? I think I’ll stick to good ‘ol fashioned doggie kisses and tail wagging to show my love, but there are a TON of love-inspired free apps out there for all you humans in need of ideas.

1-800-Flowers
I thought flowers were just outdoor markers for my favorite digging spots, but apparently humans like to send each other flowers to show they care! With the 1-800-Flowers app, you can order floral arrangements, sweets and chocolates and other gift items for your special someone. Same-day delivery service is available, so it’s perfect for that last-minute gift idea, and you can order right through the app!

Ink Cards
Occasionally my humans get cards in the mail. I know this because I often try to chase the mail carrier when he delivers them (hey, I can’t help myself!). But these days, I hear my humans talking about how expensive cards are getting. Good thing I found this super neat app for creating personalized greeting cards! Ink Cards lets you completely customize your card and its design, and then prints them and mails them for you, for just $1.99 per card (free shipping)! They advise that you plan ahead, as it takes 3-5 business days to reach recipients.

Urbanspoon
If you’re looking to go out to eat to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion for that matter, be sure to check out Urbanspoon. Not only does this app provide restaurant reviews, but Urbanspoon also lets you search by characteristic, such as “romantic” or “private dining.” So no more arguing over where to go—simply search for the type of atmosphere you’re looking for to set the mood! Plus, you can view the full menus of all the restaurants (personally, I would only consider places with lots of steak), and Urbanspoon also links you directly to online reservation apps like OpenTable and Rezbook so you can book your table!

Epicurious
Thinking of surprising that special someone will a delicious, home-cooked meal? Then add Epicurious to your list of ingredients. This recipe-inspired app features easy-to-follow instructions and professional photos of the finished dish. You can find recipes as complex or as simple as you want, and you can even sort by category, from “Decadent Desserts” to “I Can Barely Cook” (one of my top favorites!). You can also build a universal shopping list within the app for all the ingredients when it’s time to shop.

Dating Apps: Hinge & HowAboutWe
For those of you who haven’t found a mate to share your bones and toys with, there’s a few dating apps out there to help! My top two right now are Hinge and HowAboutWe.

Hinge uses your Facebook profile to connect you only to nearby friends-of-friends from your Facebook pool of connections. It’s still an opt-in dating app, so both people have to say yes to each other before a connection is made, but you’re likely to find people you actually know and have something in common!

HowAboutWe is only available for Android right now, but this nifty app uses date ideas to connect you with other people who enjoy doing the same things! You describe a date you’d like to go on, such as “How about we…go to a movie,” and potential matches can say they’re “intrigued” or “skip.” This app is a little more action-oriented, with the end goal that you would actually do whatever activity you propose. It’s a great way to find someone with similar interests. If only it were meant for doggies; I can’t seem to find any matches for “sneaking up behind your sister cat.”

So, no matter what you decide to do to show your love for Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year, hopefully these apps have given you some great ideas. I’m still going to try searching for a mate on HowAboutWe, maybe the activity “going on long walks” will get better results!

Howl at you soon,
Your pawsitively pawesome pal Cache

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Golden Rewards: A look ahead into 2018

Another year over, can you believe it? For us, if 2018 is as exciting and as fun as it was in 2017, we’re ready for what’s to come. The Golden Rewards program has grown tremendously and our ability to share the benefits of this program with you still hasn’t fallen short of a great feeling.

By far one of the most popular benefits of Golden Rewards is the travel program. In 2017 we were able to hit the road (or air) to 13 different locations, ranging from fun day trips to Foxwoods or Plainridge Park Casino and even fly “across the pond” in hopes to gain some of that “luck of the Irish” during a week-long adventure on our trip to Ireland.

Our program’s director, Jackie Roberts and our partner Deb Lizotte of Deb’s Destinations have been working hard once again to keep these amazing trips going for another year. Headlining the list are a pair of bus trips to New Orleans and Virginia Beach, as well as two different cruises that will hit waters on the Pacific Coast and Alaska! We’ve also brought back the always popular bus trip to New York City which has already sold out! However, you can still add your name to a wait list – you just never know when we may call your name!

If you’re not a Golden Rewards member, did you know the list of benefits goes far beyond the travel bug we all have? We’ll pay for your AARP subscription and even help you protect your identity by providing you with FREE LifeStages® identity protection services. The list goes on! Be sure to check out more info on our travel program and member benefits on the Golden Rewards page on our website (link to GR page). You can always contact Jackie anytime at jroberts@banksis.com

Already a Golden Rewards member? Refer a friend today and we’ll give you a $250 cash bonus* just for doing so!

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

*The referral must come from an existing SIS Golden Rewards customer. The new customer referral must not be an existing SIS customer and must become a customer of the SIS Golden Rewards program. The value of the bonus will be reported on Form 1099-INT. The referral bonus will be deposited into your account with 30 days of meeting requirements. Offer is subject to cancellation without notice. Employees of SIS, its affiliates, and subsidiaries are not eligible for this offer. Due to privacy regulations, SIS is unable to disclose the status of your referral's account opening and account usage. This offer may be withdraw at any time.

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Budgeting: Introducing Money Management

SIS Bank is now offering Money Management for all of our online banking customers. Money Management will replace SIS’s online budgeting tool, FinanceWorks, with a host of same as well as additional features. Rest assured you will still be able to effectively manage your spending with this tool while being able to better plan for your financial future.

Benefits of Money Management
The top advantages of Money Management include mobile capabilities, a better representation of the user’s data for smarter budgeting and planning and better auto-categorization rates to streamline user efforts.

Money Management also offers our online banking customers certain features that are not available through FinanceWorks to help you better manage your finances. These features are:

  • Mobile Availability – Conveniently access the program through an app directly on your smartphone, and not just online through desktop.
  • Tag Transactions – Easily prepare for your taxes by adding tags to all of your tax-deductible transactions as they occur throughout the year. You can filter your tags for a quick search and even export the list as a .csv file.
  • Goals – Better manage your financial goals with an interactive timeline that allows users to create a goal, name the goal and associate it with an internal or external bank account. You can also easily make real-time changes to the amount and goal priority.
  • View Trends – Drill into subcategories or get an overarching view by top category of your spending over time. You can even see transaction details and track income and you can set a date range in three, six, nine or 12 months. There is also much stronger accuracy of your spending by categorization, at approximate 90%.
  • Debt Payoff Calculator – Visually manage all your debt with a color-coded graph. View balances and APR as well as payment dates and minimum payments to prioritize certain debts over others and to project debt payoff dates.
  • Text Alerts – Now, you can also get alerts by SMS text messages which can be defined on a per-account and a per-alert basis. Alerts include: Exceeded Budgets, Debt Payment Reminder, Low Account Balance, Large Deposit, Large Expense/Withdrawal and Fee Charged.
  • Budget Widget on Home Page – Get quick access to your budget right from the home page.

These are just some of the wonderful features of the Money Management tool now available to SIS Bank customers. Contact your local SIS branch Assistant Manager or CSR for more information on Money Management, or for any questions, comments or concerns about your banking. We are always here to listen and to help!

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Strategies for Getting a Timely Tax Refund

It’s a big relief when you finalize your tax forms each April, but the real reward for all your hard work doesn’t come until you get your tax refund. You can make the tax preparation process more efficient and ensure that there are no delays in getting your refund by keeping the following tips in mind.

Dealing with Tax Documents
Even if you rush to submit your tax forms early, you may not get your tax refund with equal speed if there is any missing or inaccurate information. That’s why it’s important to begin gathering all of the documents that you will need to prepare your taxes now. This can include:

  • Forms W-2 from employers
  • Forms 1099 from banks or other sources of payment
  • Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace, which is applicable to people who are claiming the Premium Tax Credit
By this time of year, all applicable forms should have been issued to you. So, if any seem to be missing, now is the time to make an inquiry. The other important thing to note is that you shouldn’t just stuff your forms into a desk drawer when you get them, pulling them out only when you begin filing. At that point, if you notice any wrong information, it will be too late to have it corrected and still file on time. And although you can get a filing extension while you wait for the right information, you can say goodbye to a speedy tax refund. If you read through all of your documents now, however, there will likely be enough time to make any necessary corrections and still file on time.

 

File Electronically
When the time comes to fill out and submit your tax information, filing electronically (e-filing) is the way to go for an expeditious refund.

“When filed electronically (e-file), the IRS issues most tax refunds within 21 days. It can take about six weeks to receive a tax refund for a return filed by mail,” writes U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau employee Laura Udis on the government agency’s blog.

That means you’ll have to wait about twice as long to receive your refund if you file by mail. Furthermore, e-filing isn’t just about speeding up the process; it’s also a great way to ensure that your tax information is error-free.

“Electronically filing a tax return is the most accurate way to prepare and file,” states the IRS in an IRS Tax Tip prepared for people filing in 2018 for the 2017 tax year. “Errors delay refunds and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file.”

If you want to e-file, you have several options. First, you can use the IRS Free File system by downloading the associated software from the IRS website here. Be sure to download the appropriate version, as there are separate systems for those with an income above or below $66,000. There are also commercial software options from a variety of sources that you can try if you find that the software from the IRS doesn’t provide enough guidance for your specific tax situation.

If you are eligible for service through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs, you can have someone help you with the process. You can learn more about those programs, determine if you are eligible, and locate helpers in your area here on the IRS.gov site.

Lastly, a tax professional will be able to file electronically for you. This is a good option if you have a complicated financial situation due to being self-employed or having income and revenue from multiple sources. It is also a good idea for people who have recently inherited property, become divorced, or gone through another significant life change that impacts assets.

Choose Direct Deposit
Combining electronic filing with direct deposit is the golden combination for those who want the fastest refund because the money appears instantly in your bank account once it is ready. Many people decline direct deposit because they don’t realize how flexible it is; it can even be used if you are filing by mail and not electronically. It is possible to have the refund split between accounts if you are filing jointly or would like to separate the funds between a checking and savings account. You can also have all or a portion of the money deposited directly into certain retirement accounts. To learn more about the possibilities and advantages of direct deposit, IRS.gov has more info here.

It’s true that good things come to those who wait, but who wants to wait longer than absolutely necessary to get their tax refund? Fortunately, you won’t have to wait too long if you follow these tips. You can also set yourself up for success by seeking out help from your financial institution or tax preparer if you have any questions.

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Contact Us
SIS Bancorp
900 Main Street
Sanford, ME 04073

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